Ruminations on iOS 5

It occurred to me today that many us that own iPhones and iPads have many apps installed on our devices, in addition to the stock ones provided to us by Apple. As we swipe from home screen to home screen, each littered with those distinctly recognizable icons, the dock (the area of apps at the bottom, although dock is an unofficial name I think) remains fixed.

One of things I love to do on a regular basis is reorganize my apps on each home screen. I prioritize them in the order of most frequently used. One issue that has always bothered me frame day one though is the inflexibility we have at customizing the fixed dock. The apps there always stay the same, no matter if you have just two different home screens or 12. This definitely is annoying to me and I think we can do better.

With iOS 5 on the horizon, there’s no doubt it will be a major update. The areas of focus for Apple must be the major pain points they think users may have with it. Perhaps notifications will get their much heralded overhaul which would be nice.

One thing I would love to see is the ability to specify different docks per home screen. Let’s say home screen #1 is for work related tasks and home screen #2 is purely for writing tasks. When I swipe to the second home screen, I could see a different dock at the bottom with a different set of 4 apps along the bottom specifically tailored for that task. This is not something I foresee Apple doing, as it seems like something that would be beyond what they might consider simple and minimalistic for most novice users. It would be a dream come true for me as a power user though. I know I’m probably dreaming, but if this was something we could actually customize, it would be amazing.

Speaking of iOS 5, other than a revamp of the notification system, I haven’t really heard of any other major gripes people have had with iOS. I’m even wondering just how far they can take these improvements (though I’m sure we’ll all be pleasantly surprised). I don’t see a change in the current standard grid layout for apps on a home screen, so I imagine other refinements would be made in the stock system apps. An overhaul to the core bundled apps like calendar, mail, and contacts could definitely be realistic. A complete overhaul of the search bar would be great as well. Opening up the API to allow third party apps to have their data indexed and searchable would be fantastic. In addition to that, maybe Apple will figure out a slick way of making the search function more obvious to users. It seems like it could be an integral feature for iOS 5 and I can’t imagine they won’t do something with it.